Younique BB Flawless Complexion Enhancer

As a natural redhead, I have very fair skin. For the last few years, I’ve been really careful to avoid getting sunburned but in the past… Not so much! As a consequence, my skin is freckled in places, particularly on my arms and face. Although many people think freckles are pretty, I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with mine. Sometimes I’m happy to let them show, other times I want to disguise them a little bit. As well as freckles, my skin also has a slightly pink tint to it – particularly on my cheeks. So on days where I’d like to let my freckles show but hide the pinkness, I need a product that has lightweight, sheer coverage but will even out my skin tone. Enter Younique’s BB Flawless Complexion Enhancer… This is a creamy 3 in 1 moisturiser, treatment and lightweight foundation that evens skin tone and complexion. As an all in one product, it’s also ideal if you’re like me and like to save time with your beauty routine. It’s not laziness – we’re working smarter, not harder right?

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Younique’s BB Flawless Complexion Enhancer 

BB stands for blemish balm (or beauty balm). BB creams are the hybrid between skincare and makeup and have been around for a few years now (remember when they first came out and we thought ‘BB cream? WTF is that?’ Well I did anyway!) I’ve tried a few different BB creams from drugstore to high end and results have varied. How will this one shape up? Here’s my review. First impressions… It comes in a nicely presented, squeezy tube containing 50ml of product (so slightly more than many comparable high end brands). So far so good. Although I’m a sucker for nice packaging, it’s really the product inside that counts. Before diving in to any liquid makeup product (particularly those with a lot of natural ingredients), I always give it a shake first. It helps to mix up any natural separation that may have occurred. Shake completed, now time to check out the cream itself! The first thing I noticed was it’s consistency – it’s surprisingly thick! It’s thicker than many other foundations and moisturisers I have tried in the past. When you think about what this product actually is though – a moisturiser, foundation and skin treatment in one, the thickness of it’s consistency kind of makes sense. It’s also unscented too. It comes in six different shades – Cream (cool ivory – my shade, which is perfect for redheads and strawberry blondes), Bisque (warm beige), Honey (warm tan), Caramel (cool golden), Chestnut (warm almond) and Carob (deep walnut).

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It’s currently available in six different shades

We’ve learned that the cream is thick so how does it apply? Surprisingly well! I applied a thin, even layer to my face and neck using a damp Blending Bud which gives the best results but you could always use a cosmetic sponge, foundation brush or your fingers too. It spread smoothly, evenly and blended with ease leaving no residue. Although the cream is thick, it provides a lightweight coverage without the ‘heavy’ feeling on the skin that some people associate with wearing makeup. It is very light and stays on all day, doesn’t go ‘cakey’ and it moisturises skin very well with no dry spots or greasiness. The coverage is natural, lightweight and sheer so if you prefer heavier coverage, top with powder, mix with concealer or wear it under foundation. This BB cream doesn’t have undertones and mixes with any skin tone perfectly without looking yellow or pinkish. If you suffer with dry or sensitive skin and like natural, sheer coverage, this is the product for you (it’s best avoided if you have oily skin). The finish is dewy rather than matte so if you prefer a matte finish, top it with powder.

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Coverage with a blend of Younique BB Flawless Cream, Touch Cream Foundation and Concealer

We are currently experiencing a spell of really hot weather here in the UK (makes a change!) and it copes really well with the heat and humidity. It contains natural antioxidants, antibacterials, moisturisers and skin conditioners to keep your skin looking smooth and flawless. It also contains natural sun protection, is gluten free and vegan friendly. As well as providing a lightweight coverage it works as a treatment for your skin. Packed full of beneficial ingredients, it leaves your skin feeling nourished. Among the many natural ingredients it contains (93% of the ingredients are natural) are shea butter, a rich source of antioxidants and allantoin – this is huge in the skincare world. It comes from the roots of the comfrey plant and is well known medically for it’s cell renewal, healing and smoothing properties.  

This BB cream also works perfectly as a great highlight and contour kit too when you purchase two colours (it’s available to buy in a highlight and contouring set with two colours and Blending Buds). Apply seamlessly with Blending Buds – it literally changes your face! It also makes a perfect base for powder concealers – try mixing my favourite BB Brew! It’s a mixture of BB Flawless cream mixed with a little bit of Mineral Powder Concealer. It’s hydrating, feels lightweight, provides amazing full coverage and a gorgeous glowy finish. This combination is the bomb! Also try mixing BB cream and liquid concealer! The coverage is amazing! If you have ever tried another brand of BB cream, do not judge Younique’s on that! It’s in a whole different league. Although the price is higher end, it’s worth it. The tube is bigger than your average foundation tube and you do not need to use very much – a little goes a long way. 

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For best results apply with Blending Buds

BB Flawless Complexion Enhancer is covered by a 14 day money back guarantee so why not see how it stands up to your current brand? Younique are an online only brand available from authorised Younique Presenters only. If you would like to treat yourself to this amazing BB cream, please click here (currency can be changed in the top right corner). Not sure which colour you need? I’d be happy to help you find your perfect colour match so please, don’t be afraid to ask! Contact me for a free colour matching consultation. 

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Coverage from Younique’s BB Flawless Cream and Touch Pressed Powder Foundation

Until next time, stay beautiful x

Pioneers Of Beauty – Barry Mero

Here is the latest post in my Pioneers Of Beauty series looking at people who have shaped the beauty industry as we know it. Today’s beauty pioneer, Barry Mero, is not exactly a household name. Chances are, you have probably never even heard of him. But you have probably heard of the London based cosmetics company that bears his name – Barry M. One of my favourite budget (and cruelty free) beauty brands, Barry M are famed for their multicoloured, sparkly and reasonably priced products. When I first came across Barry M products, I honestly thought that Barry Manilow had his own makeup line. But no, the Barry M behind the company isn’t Mr. Manilow, it’s Barry Mero. Barry began his career in beauty by selling cosmetics and hair products on a market stall near his home in east London. He had an entrepreneurial spirit from a young age and quickly spotted a gap in the beauty market – colourful, trend led makeup in keeping with the outrageous goth, punk and new romantic fashions of the 80’s. 

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Barry M’s famous Dazzle Dust

And so in 1982, the Barry M brand was born. The first products in the Barry M range were the famous Nail Paints. Barry introduced cruelty free, quality nail polishes in bright, vivid colours that were like nothing else available at the time, all at very affordable prices. I absolutely love them and own way too many colours to count. Finely milled nail glitters, crackle effect and black nail polishes are just some of the innovative products that he has bought to the world of beauty. Far from being an obscure, cult brand, Barry M count Angelina Jolie, Geri Halliwell and Victoria Beckham as fans. Barry M has evolved from a small, niche brand selling colourful nail polishes to a fully fledged cosmetics company offering a full range of makeup including lip glosses, eyeshadows and foundations. 

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Still a best seller… Black Nail Paint

A true innovator, Barry definitely deserves his place on my list as a Pioneer Of Beauty. 

Until next time, stay beautiful x 

Exercising Your Brain

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Going back to my childhood, I was pretty academic in school. I was an avid reader, had a keen interest in music and dreamt of becoming a doctor. Then like many other teenagers, when puberty struck and I began high school, I became unmotivated with my studies. I lost interest in school work and preferred to hang out with my friends instead. I found the content of my lessons uninspiring and despite their best efforts, very few teachers could actually encourage me to produce the work I was capable of. Despite having an IQ of 150, I never reached my full potential in school. My formal education ended with the completion of my GCSE’s. I did fairly well in the exams but my grades suffered as a result of much of my coursework being missing or incomplete. Perhaps I would have fared better under the old ‘O Level’ system which relied on exam results only. I have met a number of successful people who performed badly in their GCSE’s so perhaps it is wise to remember that they are a reflection of the work ethic of a sixteen year old child, not the skills, knowledge, business acumen and capacity for learning of an adult.

It has been several years now since leaving school and ironically, I have more of a thirst for learning now than what I ever did as a child. I once heard a quote which has always stayed with me, ‘formal education isn’t what makes you smart, if you’re smart you educate yourself’. And I guess that is what I have been trying to do for the past few years, not for the sake of making up for the shortcomings in my formal education, but learning just for the pleasure of learning something new or mastering a new skill. Your brain is an organ that needs to be exercised. Do so by reading, writing, completing puzzles, learning new skills… Anything that engages your brain and requires you to think. Many people now realise the benefits of regularly doing activities which stimulate and challenge your brain. In recent years, brain training games have become popular and scientists believe that staying mentally active could maybe help prevent diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

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I am keeping my brain active at the moment by studying astronomy. It is a complex but fascinating subject which is certainly making me think! I have met some that think it is only worth learning things that will make you money. But there is nothing wrong with learning for the sake of learning. In my opinion, it is one of life’s greatest gifts.

Here are some ideas for getting your brain working – 

Online educational resources – The internet has a vast amount of websites and resources for learning. A lot of universities have free courses on their websites including top universities such as Harvard, Yale and Berkeley. Wikiversity is a Wikimedia project which contains lots of learning resources at all levels of education. There are some superb videos for learning on YouTube, check out #education. The BBC website also has an excellent education section (we have to make use of our licence fee somehow). There are so many other great websites – this link will take you to an article written by Marc Chernoff where he has listed some of the best!

Libraries – Visit your local library and borrow books on subjects that interest you or perhaps subjects which you have no prior knowledge of. Libraries contain books on every subject from architecture to zoology.

Hobbies – Take up a new hobby or perhaps take up one that you dropped years ago. Learn to draw or paint, cook or bake, learn a craft such as knitting or even learn to fly… Anything that sparks your interest and creativity.

Art galleries – I always find that visiting an art gallery provides a lot of intellectual stimulation, even if it is just because you find yourself staring at a piece of art and thinking, ‘how on earth did that get to be exhibited?!’

Museums – Visit local museums or travel further afield to places such as London which has some world class museums including the Science Museum, Natural History Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum and Royal Observatory Greenwich.

Start your own business – This will provide you with lots to think about and to do!

Learn a strategy game – My husband recently taught me to play chess, an excellent way to get you thinking and an enjoyable way to pass the time rather than spending an evening just watching TV.

Write – Poetry, a short story, that novel you have been meaning to write for years or like me, that blog you have always been meaning to start.

Get outdoors – Whether it’s a walk in the local or park or a cross country hike, gentle exercise and getting closer to nature always leaves you feeling good and mentally stimulated. 

Current affairs – Keep up to date with what is happening in the world, read newspapers, watch the news, maintain an interest in politics and debate with those around you.

Learn a musical instrument – Musical instruments are more affordable than ever and with a whole host of free teaching resources available online, it has never been easier to learn an instrument. I play double bass and if you happen to also play it, check out Jeff’s excellent videos at discoverdoublebass.com

Watch a play or film – When well written, these can provide plenty of mental stimulation. The same goes for listening to music.

Make something – Whether it’s a beautiful cake, a scale model or a patchwork quilt, your brain will be kept busy as well as your hands. 

Learn a new language – As with many other subjects, there are so many free resources on the web for learning a language now, whether you want to master the basics or become a fluent speaker. French, German, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Latin… The choice is endless.

Read – As much as you can. Fiction, non-fiction, classic works of literature… Books make the world a much better place.

Personal development – Some people dismiss self help and personal development as mumbo jumbo but I disagree. Learning to increase your confidence, overcome depression about your past and anxiety about your future are crucial skills to learn. Never underestimate the importance of being able to master your emotional state, mindfulness, positive self talk and learning to see and think ‘differently’. 

Observe the world around you – It’s very easy to go through life on autopilot. Many of us have the same daily routine and switch off to what is actually going on around us. The next time you are on your daily commute or taking a walk around your home town, really look at what is around you. You will be surprised at what you may find that you have never noticed before. Historic architecture, interesting plants, places of natural beauty… Even just going outside on a clear, dark night and observing the night sky offers a feast for the senses. 

Puzzles – Crosswords, Sudoku, brain training games – these all provide great exercise for your brain. Try learning to complete a Rubik’s cube, it is immensely satisfying once you learn and a great party trick!

Mental arithmetic – Next time you reach for your calculator – don’t. Use your brain instead. The confusion on the face of shop assistants when you ask them ‘do you want the 10?’ shows that we have become incredibly reliant on technology to do our maths for us. Whether it’s basic mental arithmetic when out shopping or tackling your own accounts, practice maths at every opportunity to keep your brain sharp. 

Take a class – Flower arranging, art, cooking, pottery… There are an abundance of inexpensive (sometimes free) classes out there to take. Check out your local classifieds to find out what’s on near you. 

Join a club – From amateur dramatics, to gardening, to the WI, again there are lots of choices in your local area if you choose to look. 

Travel – New sights, new smells, different languages, new cultures… They all provide a feast for the senses and for your brain. Travel offers are wealth of opportunity to learn, perhaps more so than any other pastime in my opinion. 

Yoga – I have included yoga as it is an activity that is about the mind as well as the body. A wonderfully relaxing form of exercise, as well as increasing your flexibility and suppleness, yoga will also leave your mind feeling clear and refreshed. If you prefer more rigorous exercise, remember that all forms of physical activity help your body to release endorphins leaving you feeling good and mentally alert. 

Until next time, keep working that grey matter x 

Barefaced Chic

Wearing no makeup is a big deal to a lot of women. Going out with no makeup is to many, unthinkable. In fact, I even know some women whose husbands or boyfriends have never even seen their face with no makeup. They get up at the crack of dawn to put their face on before they are seen devoid of their beloved makeup products. A few years ago there was a big social media campaign for Cancer Research that involved posting a no makeup selfie. Again, this was seen as a huge deal for some women and many people I know actually refused to participate as they couldn’t bear people seeing them without makeup. The fact the whole campaign was marketed as a ‘challenge’ speaks volumes. Makeup provides many women with that extra confidence boost that they may feel they need and to ‘disguise’ what they don’t like. None of us are perfect and most of us have aspects of our face that we consider ‘flaws’. 

There are things that I don’t like about my face – my freckled skin, blonde brows and lashes, slightly asymmetrical features and thin lips. However, despite the things that I consider flaws, I look for the beauty in my face. I love the colour of my hair and eyes, the bone structure of my face and the fact that my skin is smooth and clear. I’ve even learned to love my slightly crooked teeth (I feel they give my face uniqueness and character). Rather than seeing an unmade-up face as unattractive or worse still, ugly, I see them as blank canvases. Makeup is an art form – the products are the medium and the face is the canvas. Makeup is not to be used as a mask, it should be used to accentuate the natural beauty that is already there. As much as I love wearing makeup, I don’t think it should be used as a crutch to hide what you don’t like on the outside. It’s a cliche but true beauty starts from within. And don’t forget that makeup can only do so much, you still have to work with what you’ve got. 

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I am comfortable with my makeup free face

I feel it’s time more women learned to love themselves without makeup. And it’s important too that men don’t make women feel as though they are not attractive without makeup. Men don’t realise that all too often when they are complimenting a woman on her beauty, they are in fact complimenting her on her makeup. When was the last time a glamour model or a stripper did her job without a full face of makeup? Some of the most ‘beautiful’ women out there have skilled makeup artists or are highly skilled themselves at applying makeup. It gives a false idea of beauty. All this I feel puts pressure on women to constantly be made-up. And to me, that’s not cool. So no matter how you look without makeup, whether you feel confident or not, I would encourage you to fall in love with your makeup free face. Look for the features you love rather than concentrating on those that you don’t. Despite my love of makeup and how it makes me feel and look, I’m still comfortable with my makeup free face. And you should be too. And even if you’re not – make sure you take it off at night, sleeping in it isn’t good for your skin. In fact sleeping in makeup can make your skin age up to seven times faster! Another reason to go barefaced!  

Until next time, stay beautiful x 

The Great Beauty Bake Off

Today I’m going to talk about a beauty trend which has been attracting a lot of attention in the press and on social media of late – baking. No, not that kind of baking. There’s no jam or soggy bottoms to be found here. This type of baking is of the beauty variety. A trend beloved of celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, baking is a technique that has actually been around for years in the drag community and practised by professional makeup artists. It originated as a way for performers to prevent their makeup from melting under hot stage lighting but for us mere mortals, it can help you to achieve a really flawless, wrinkle free makeup look (in theory). So what exactly is it? Read on and find out… 

Just like other techniques such as highlighting, contouring and strobing, baking is another technique that can appear ridiculously complex and leave viewers of beauty tutorials scratching their heads and thinking, ‘Huh? I ain’t got time for that!’ Well, in case you have got the time, here’s how it works. Before we go any further, I must point out that despite the name, baking does not involve warming up your products in the microwave or sticking your head in an oven. So please don’t do it! The ‘baking’ process actually comes from the heat from your face. So in effect, the warmth of your skin sets (bakes) your makeup. Aaaah… Making sense now? So how do you do it? 

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Translucent setting powder is used to set your products during baking

Firstly, you need to make sure that your skin is really well hydrated and moisturised (particularly under your eyes). Moisturising should be a non-negotiable part of your daily skincare routine anyway but it’s particularly important for makeup techniques like this. If your skin is dry, baking will make your skin look cakey, flakey and pretty rank in all honesty. Once you’ve ensured that your skin is moisturised and silky smooth, you can then get to work on your baking. Also make sure that you have good lighting when applying your makeup. You don’t want to do this in a dark room and then emerge looking as though an undertaker has applied your makeup. Basically all you do is apply your foundation/BB cream (or whatever base you are using). Then apply a thick splodge (that is a technical term) of concealer below your eyes in an inverted triangle shape. It doesn’t matter if the concealer is heavy – it’s meant to be. It’s best if you work your concealer using upward strokes and blend using a slightly damp blending bud or makeup sponge. You can also add concealer to any other areas of your face that you wish to appear brighter. It’s a little like highlighting but without the shimmery sparkle. If you really want to go all out, you can apply another layer of concealer. I know what you’re thinking… ‘F*ck, that’s a lot of makeup’. Yes it is and don’t worry, it’s supposed to be.

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A fan brush (centre) can be used to dust off excess powder

Once you’ve applied your concealer, blend the edges so that it is blended naturally with your foundation. With me so far? Once you have reached this step, you then apply a thick layer of loose translucent powder on top of the concealer. You can do this using a damp sponge or blending bud. You can apply more powder if you wish. You then proceed to ‘bake’ (in other words, you leave the powder and concealer to set using the warmth from your skin). Most people ‘bake’ for around ten minutes and use this time to finish the rest of their makeup. Some people take it even further and ‘bake’ for half an hour. Crikey. Once you have finished baking, you can lightly dust off and blend any excess powder if there is any using a fan brush (or any other really fluffy brush). And voila! If you have done it correctly, you should have flawless, even skin and perfectly set makeup. If you wish, you can then contour, apply blusher or whatever else you want to do to finish your look. 

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Finished baked look using Younique products

Ultimately, this is not a technique you should be employing on a daily basis. Baking requires a thick layer of products which in time, will clog your pores and mess up your skin. No matter how much you may dislike your makeup free skin, it’s always a good idea to allow your skin to ‘breathe’ sometimes. So that’s how you bake. It’s not a difficult technique to master, it just takes time and practice. There are plenty of tutorials out there on YouTube showing lots of different tips and techniques, some more complex than others… But these are the basic principles of baking. Why not give it a try yourself sometime? 

Until next time, stay beautiful x 

Pioneers Of Beauty – Barbara Daly

This is the first post in a series entitled ‘Pioneers Of Beauty’. This series will look at people who have shaped the beauty world as we know it. The artists and innovators who have made a lasting impact on the cosmetics industry and have changed the way we view makeup and indeed, ourselves. My first ‘beauty pioneer’ is British makeup artist Barbara Daly. Even if you have never heard of her before, most of you will be familiar with her work. She was the makeup artist for the Stanley Kubrick films ‘The Shining’ and ‘A Clockwork Orange’ and has inspired countless Halloween makeup looks since!

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Barbara Daly’s infamous work on the film ‘A Clockwork Orange’

Barbara began her career as a makeup artist in the 1960’s working on TV shows for the BBC before embarking upon a career as a freelancer. She has worked with numerous well known photographers such as Helmut Newton, David Bailey and Lord Snowdon and was the makeup artist behind some of the most iconic Vogue covers of the 1970’s and 80’s. She was also called upon to be the makeup artist for one of the most famous and photographed weddings in history – Princess Diana’s. Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was also a client of Barbara’s.

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Barbara Daly’s highest profile commission – Princess Diana’s wedding day

If you live in the UK, Barbara has a self titled range of makeup available from Tesco. From the outlandish style of ‘A Clockwork Orange’ through to smokey eyes and the fashionable ‘no makeup’ makeup look, Barbara Daly’s influence can be felt to this day throughout the world of makeup artistry. There are many well known makeup artists these days such as Bobbi Brown, Jemma Kidd, Jeffree Star and countless others. But Barbara truly paved the way for makeup artists to become ‘stars’ in their own right. A true pioneer of beauty. 

Until next time, stay beautiful x 

Autumn Inspired Makeup

Every season, I say ‘this is my favourite time of year’ and Autumn is no exception. I really love the darker evenings and being able to make my house warm and cosy with my little lamps and scented candles of pumpkin spice and gingerbread. Drinking hot chocolate with lashings of cream, cinnamon and nutmeg, wrapping up warm and walking through crunchy leaves, the smell of bonfires hanging in the air, the fun and festivities of Halloween and Guy Fawkes Night, eating warm chestnuts and toffee apples, sleeping on warm, flannel sheets… There are so many lovely things about autumn. 

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I adore autumn and all of the beautiful colours associated with it 

And not forgetting of course, all of the gorgeous colours of falling foliage that surround us at this time of year – rich, vibrant shades of red, yellow, orange and gold. As a natural redhead, these are not normally colours that I would choose to wear. My hair is a fairly light shade of red (almost a strawberry blonde shade) and I have pale blue eyes and so for me personally, I don’t feel that these shades are the most flattering on me! However, getting in the spirit of Autumn, I decided to have a play around with my makeup and try some colours inspired by the changing seasons. 

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Today’s autumn inspired look

I have used colours from Younique’s range of Mineral Pigment Powders to create this eye makeup look, applied dry and then blended with a Sponge Brush. On my lips, I am wearing Lucrative Lip Gloss in ‘Livid’. As I said previously, they are not colours I would normally choose to wear but it’s always fun to experiment with different makeup looks and colours and you never know – you may discover something that looks amazing on you! 

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These are not colours I would normally choose to wear but it’s fun to play with colour sometimes 

I am also looking forward to trying out these beautiful Splurge Cream Shadows in autumnal inspired colours. These eyeshadows have a lovely, velvety smooth texture and are super luxurious so I am looking forward to adding more to my collection!

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Splurge Cream Shadows in ‘Tenacious’, ‘Defiant’ and ‘Elegant’ 

What colours are you planning to wear for your makeup this season? Feel free to let me know in the comments! 

Until next time, stay beautiful x